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Last time we looked at Phase 1 methods, and today we’re going to inject those methods with very important content.
But before we get in too far, if you have never listened to The Celebration of God Podcast, you really need to check it out. In fact, you need to subscribe, listen to the episodes, and share them with your kids.
We not only teach your whole family how you can worship God better this year in the High Days and Low Moments of your life, but this year we’re getting super specific about how to live out God’s mercy, grace, life, and power in our own lives.
At the time of this recording we’ve gotten through mercy, and we’re in grace, and these episodes have been so convicting and helpful for me. I strongly recommend you add The Celebration of God to your podcast repertoire.
Not only is the content incredibly biblical and Christ-exalting, but that podcast also has free episode notes, transcripts, and related resources just like this one does.
And now let’s preview some of the most important parenting topics you need to teach your kids.
On our first episode of this series we established that God, the Bible, and the Gospel need to be part of every parenting moment—whether directly or indirectly.
And today we’re going to build on that. Within the framework of God, the Scriptures, and the Good News of Salvation, we’re going to look at a number of biblical topics that every child of every age needs to understand if they’re going to live a life that pleases the Lord. And as Ambassador Parents, that’s exactly what we want for them.
Do you remember the goal of II Timothy 3:16 and 17? “All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; 17 so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.”
As Ambassador Parents, we want our kids to be adequate in the things of God and equipped for every good work to his honor and glory. We want them to become men and women of God.
Now, just a quick clarification. In modern English, we often picture “adequate” to refer to being barely acceptable. But in this case, the word refers to being perfectly fitted and complete. I think that effectively describes what we want for our kids.
So, as we’re teaching them, how do we choose from the lifetime of content we find in the Bible? On what should we major? Are there age appropriate ideas in the Bible? What do they need first?
Well, hopefully we’re going to answer some of those questions today.
And I’d like to start by itemizing a number of important concepts and providing resources that will allow you to practically flesh out the areas you need to work on the most.
Also, I’ve tried to put these into a specific order. I believe the order is partially illustrated in the Bible, but I’m not going to say the order is inspired. I also don’t want you to think that we only talk about one idea at a time. That may be the case when kids are very young, but parenting is always a multi-faceted and multi-focused endeavor. There’s a lot of overlap, and we can’t afford to not deal with new concepts because the kids haven’t perfected the old concepts. We’d never get to anything new! Since many of these concepts overlap, it will be important to allow them to build on each other like the concrete blocks used to create a building.
Now, no, we’re not going to talk about eating right and bedtimes and school and colors and numbers and things like that. Even unbelievers generally recognize the importance of the day-to-day logistical realities their kids need to know. We’re going to discuss the eternal truths that affect everything in their lives.
With that said . . .
1. You must teach your children the biblical truths concerning authority.
The question of authority is the most seminal question for all humanity, and the practical ramifications for our families are staggering.
If there were an ultimate authority in the universe, then our lives would be lived completely differently than if there weren’t. Your children absolutely must be taught what authority is. They need to know that there is authority in their lives. They need to know who that authority is, and they need to know how they are to respond to that authority.
Again, we can’t take the time today to unpack each of these concepts, so I will share a few important points for each one and then share some vital resources with you to continue your study.
A. What is authority?
Merriam-Webster defines authority as “power to influence or command thought, opinion, or behavior.”
An authority is anyone who has inherent power over us, inherited power over us, or invited power over us.
Inherent Authority is power that comes by virtue of the person and/or their position.
Inherited Authority is authority a person wouldn’t otherwise have had the Inherent Authority not given it to them. And it comes with the expectation that the Inherited Authority be exercised exactly as the Inherent Authority would exercise it.
And Invited Authority is the power we give to people to influence us whether they should have that power or not.
So, who might some of these people be?
B. Who is an authority?
The main truth you need to teach your kids is that God is the ultimate Authority over the entire cosmos.
From there, anyone who God says is an authority is therefore a legitimate authority. God’s Word has taught us that there are a number of people in our lives who have Inherent Authority in the life of a child—the main one of which is the parent.
Your children need to understand that by obeying you, they are obeying God because God is the one who put you in charge in the home.
Of course, God has also established that any number of people are to share His Inherited Authority. And the Bible has a lot to say about how careful we must be giving Invited Authority to people.
But it’s not enough to recognize that someone has the power to influence us, we have to understand why.
C. Why do our authorities have the power to influence us?
Your children need to understand that God doesn’t wield authority because He’s a bully. You need to teach them that He deserves to be obeyed because of Who He is and what He’s done.
Again, this is a big topic.
D. How do we respond to authority?
The only correct response to biblical authority is submission and obedience. We’ll talk more about obedience in a minute, because that too is something we need to teach our kids.
By the way, this topic will also provide opportunities for talking about the nature and reality of truth. If there is an ultimate authority that means that there will always be an absolute truth.
Now, in order to better understand biblical authority and learn how to teach it to your kids, I encourage you to listen to our Authority Series. You also need to listen to The Biggest Parenting Challenges You Will Ever Face Series. I’m going to reference that one multiple times today because we discuss much of today’s content in that series.
Now, a question of authority is the necessary foundation for our next point.
2. You must teach your children the biblical truths concerning identity.
We live in a world where many people believe you can be whatever you want, and I’m not talking about your profession. I’m talking about believing you can change your sex, identify as an animal, or more basically—simply choose whether or not you will identify as a being created by a loving Father.
Most of the world identifies as people living in a reality that is very unbiblical.
This topic also includes questions of autonomy. Children like to think they aren’t responsible to anyone else. They identify as not needing assistance, authority, or accountability. But the reality is that our identity is 100% defined by the Authority Who created us and designed our identities.
Your children cannot understand who they are if they don’t understand Who God is and what His plan for them is.
The Biggest Parenting Challenges You Will Ever Face Series has an episode on autonomy as well as identity that will help you understand and address your children’s temptations in those areas.
I cannot stress how important this is regardless of the age of your kids.
And you’re going to find that the earlier you teach these lessons the easier it is to teach them, and the stronger your kids will grow in them as you continually keep these truths before them.
And not only are the themes of biblical authority, autonomy, and identity necessary for your children to live a Christ-honoring life, they’re also necessary for your kids to be able to understand and appreciate this next point.
3. You must teach your children the biblical truths concerning family.
This is another concept the world is daily trying to pervert. We must actively live out the title of Truth.Love.Family.’s blog by “Taking Back the Family.” We need to make sure our kids understand God’s plan and role for the family.
A very helpful resource for this point is called Does Your Family Function Like the Trinity? That episode deals with authority, submission, and God’s plan for the family. And so does our series called A Family Unified in God.
It’s not enough for your kids to just experience a family. They must be verbally taught the theological underpinnings of what it really means to be a family that pleases the Lord.
4. You must teach your children the biblical truths concerning trust.
I debated about whether this should have been the first point or not, but regardless of where it falls in the list, this is a seminal concept in the life of every human. What we choose to trust dictates everything else in our lives.
If I choose to not trust that God is the ultimate Authority in my life, then I will believe I can identify however I want, and I will likely reject anyone who tries to tell me otherwise.
Your kids need to learn that they do everything they do because they either trust or do not trust their authorities.
If you can only listen to one other series in the over 500 episodes we have, please listen to Truth.Love.Parent.’s Merest Christianity Series or The Celebration of God’s Grow Your Worship Series. Those series explain why everyone in your family does what they do and lays out the only way to ever see real change in your family’s lives. It teaches how trust, belief, and faith are identical concepts, why they’re so important, and how to mature them.
And speaking of The Celebration of God, I also recommend an episode called Teach Your Family to Celebrate God. That conversation is very helpful in understanding how to teach your kids about worship, faith, and the authority of God.
And a discussion of trust leads well to . . .
5. You must teach your children the biblical truths concerning love.
Without a biblical understanding of the nature and exercise of true love, your kids are doomed to accept the adulterated and perverted definitions of the world.
We have a great collection of shows called The Family Love Series. In that study we discuss a number of biblical ideas related to love and lay the foundation for the only love that will truly bring joy in your homes.
And speaking of joy . . .
6. You must teach your children the biblical truths concerning security.
In The Biggest Parenting Challenges You Will Ever Face Series we define security as the combination of and tension between safety and satisfaction.
If your kids believe they can identify as the authority of their lives, then their definition of safety and satisfaction will be what they pursue. But if God is the authority of their lives worthy of their trust and obedience, then He gets to define true security.
And biblical joy, peace, blessing, contentment, and gratitude are huge parts of that conversation.
This topic is massive when discussing adopted kids. Their understanding of security is often very mangled and misshapen, so we need to help them recognize that true security is not found in themselves or their families, but only in God.
And speaking of gratitude, you could always listen to our Teach Your Children to Be Thankful Series.
Okay, so we need to teach our kids what the Bible has to say about authority, identity, family, trust, love, security, and . . .
7. You must teach your children the biblical truths concerning morality.
The Biggest Parenting Challenges You Will Ever Face Series addresses this concept in great detail.
If a child gets to be their own authority and define their own identity and pursue their own security, then they will also define their own morality.
That’s why we need to teach our kids what God has to say about moral living.
God commands that we be holy as He is holy, and He defines what righteousness, sanctification, and obedience are.
And morality is something our families can rejoice in, not shun. It’s not about some puritanical rules, it’s about the freedom that comes to live life to its fullest and most enjoyable.
Do your children understand God’s expectations for how they conduct their lives? They need to. It’s not about what you want for them or about what they want for themselves. It’s about God’s expectations.
And that leads us to . . .
8. You must teach your children the biblical truths concerning obedience.
I’ve referenced this a couple times already, but if there were an Authority Who had expectations for our morality and identity, then we must learn how to obey that Authority.
And as everyone who’s listened to this show for any length of time knows, obedience is not just about what you do and how you do it.
All throughout those episodes (and so many others) we carefully define true, biblical obedience. If we don’t teach our kids what God means by obedience, we push them toward self-righteousness, self-worship, and empty pharisaism.
But what happens when your kids don’t obey?
9. You must teach your children the biblical truths concerning consequences.
Everyone who’s ever been born understands consequences as far as other people are concerned, but we all hypocritically reject the idea of necessary consequences in our own lives because we’re arrogant enough to think we don’t deserve them.
Your children must learn what the Bible has to say about consequences—good and bad. We have a series called simply “Consequences,” and I believe that will play a hugely significant part in equipping you to teach your kids what God has to say about it.
When you click on the link for the Consequences Series, you will also find multiple episodes we’ve done concerning punishment versus discipline, whether speaking loudly pleases the Lord, and how discipline can soften a child’s heart.
We also talk about the vital importance of tying Secondary Consequences to the biblical Primary Consequences.
Now, you might think that teaching your children these truths and giving them necessary consequences will result in them learning. But did you know that children need to be taught how to learn? Yes, they do it instinctively, but the best learning is taught.
10. You must teach your children the biblical truths concerning learning.
Your children need to be taught how to desire knowledge, grow in understanding, and use the lessons they’ve learned in their lives.
Now, the final three truths we have to teach our kids were hard to put in any chronological order. I believe that each of these discussions need to be had in conjunction with the previous truths.
And the first is . . .
11. You must teach your children the biblical truths concerning technology.
There is a pivotal episode in The Biggest Parenting Challenges You Will Ever Face Series that addresses the fact that technology is not just computers and phones. Technology is everything outside of ourselves that we utilize to achieve perceived security.
This goes for virtual reality headsets as well as teething rings.
Your children—regardless of their ages—are using their belongings to pursue satisfaction. They must not only be taught to pursue Christ-honoring security, but they must be taught how their technology plays into that pursuit.
And when it comes to apps and phones, we have a number of episodes in our Technology Series.
Now, when we think of issues our kids may have with technology, we often think of sexuality. But sexuality is not simply a talk we have when our older kids have gotten in trouble. Therefore . . .
12. You must teach your children the biblical truths concerning sexuality.
And you need to start teaching them this from a very young age.
Of course, this is a massive conversation we can’t unpack here. But there are lots of resources at TruthLoveParent.com to help you navigate these conversations.
Allow me to say here, though, that . . .
A. Christ-honoring conversations about sexuality should start easy and normal. Teach your kids about how God made their bodies. Teach them about biblical modesty. Teach them early on what’s appropriate conversation with people who aren’t their parents, and teach them to share with you the things that happen to them.
B. Christ-honoring conversations about sexuality are about purpose and timing. Too often we try to manipulate our kids by scaring them away from sexuality. But that doesn’t generally work, and—instead—causes them to view God’s purpose for sexuality the wrong way. It ends up seeming like a creation of Satan that they’re not allowed to enjoy. But the reality is that it’s a gift from God He does want them to enjoy in the right way at the right time.
So be sure to check out our Sexuality Series to help you have these conversations with your kids.
And finally . . .
13. You must teach your children the biblical truths concerning sin.
We have many episodes on this topic, and it comes up in nearly every episode we’ve ever published. So, we’ve made it easy for you by collecting them all into a Sin Series.
Sin is the opposite of God and His will. Sin is immaturity. Sin hurts. Sin separates. Sin makes us stupid. Sin is insanity. And we need to help our kids learn, understand, and apply these truths to their lives lest they suffer the consequences of that sin.
And it’s in this discussion that we can talk about addictions. No, addictions are not just chemical dependancies our teenagers will be tempted to have. Every human born into the world is tempted to Secondary Addictions because they are already addicted to their Primary Addiction.
Understanding their addiction is a massive thread that works its way through the topics of identity, worship, sin, consequences, authority, security, and everything else.
We have an episode called “Is Your Child Addicted? Yes!” I highly recommend you listen to that episode, and it will be linked (as will all the others I mentioned today) in the description of today’s episode as well as the body of the episode page at TruthLoveParent.com.
And the final resource I’ll share with you today is episode 300, Every Lesson You Need to Teach Your Kids. I pray this episode as well as all the resources I’ve shared with you today will prepare you to keep a daily flow of biblical truth into your kids lives as you engage in the first phase of Biblical Parenting—teaching.